Election Update!


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Malibu City Council Election 2004 Results

Results as of 9:30 p.m.

These are not the final election results.

Ken Kearsely 974

Jeff Jennings 964

Pamela Conley Ulich 791

Walter F. Keller 623

Jay Liebig 523

John Mazza 399

Malibu Campaign Watch Commission

Decision on Ken Kearsley Complaint against Walt Keller ad, April 8, 2004

Leslie Moss, writing on behalf of Ken Kearsley, filed a complaint against Walt Keller for an ad that appeared in The Malibu Times and the Malibu Surfside News on April 8, 2004. The Commission requested, received and considered a rebuttal to the complaint from Walt Keller, who attached several pages of documents in support of his position, which the Commission considered along with documents provided by the city.

The ad makes the following statement about the City Council:

Used $400,000 of federal funds collected for a Senior Center to pay 5 years rent on 1/2 of the City Council Chambers and equipment, when a much larger permanent Senior facility was available for $126,000.

1. Mr. Moss asserts that only city general funds were used for the City Hall space, equipment, rent, etc.

Mr. Keller’s rebuttal charges that the “senior room” is consistently used to provide seating—with the accordion wall between the Senior Center and the City Council opened —for the audience attending Council and Planning Commission meetings. The council uses the space of the Senior Center area on a regular basis, not the other way around.

Facts: In a memo from Paul Adams, director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Malibu dated March 23, 2004, he notes that all uses of the CDBG funds were reviewed and approved by both the L.A. County Community Development Commission that administers the funds coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal funds were used only for furnishings and equipment that will stay with the Senior Center; and for the 1,200 square feet dedicated to the senior center.

After reviewing city documents setting forth how the funds were allocated, the Commission considered the assertion of $400,000 spent to pay half the rent of the City Council Chambers to be questionable. Whatever the circumstances, the funds were approved by the relevant agent for the federal government, and accounted for by the city’s auditor.

2. Mr. Moss asserts that no alternative official proposal exists because the properties suggested by Mr. Keller were not eligible for federal funding.

Mr. Keller cites a lengthy discussion involving the city and others that took place over a several year period about a mobile structure owned by Pepperdine University that could have been purchased and moved to another site.

Facts: Pepperdine University was willing to work with Malibu Modular Management Corporation to get a fair price on the unit in question, and there was also interest in the school district in having the unit placed on its land. The City Council and staff found that the $110,000 price did not include the cost of electricity, water, septic, access modifications or the cooperation of neighbors.

The Commission found that the correspondence submitted by Mr. Keller provides a factual basis for his assertion that an alternative site was available.

Conclusion: The ad that is the subject of Mr. Kearsley’s complaint was published in the final days of the campaign. The complaint was received by the Commission on April 9 and the rebuttal on April 12. The Commission reviewed the materials and discussed the issues presented. The members concluded that much of the evidence was a matter of subjective interpretation. Although Mr. Kearsley’s complaint was found to have some merit, the Commission found that there was not enough hard evidence to call the ad “false and misleading.”

Last-minute campaign literature sparks outrage

By Jonathan Friedman/Staff Writer

A City Council election campaign publication and a newspaper advertisement from opposing sides of the Malibu political battle that were released on Wednesday are misinforming the public, critics say.

Musician Don Henley and actor Ed Begley Jr. came out with the tabloid size, eight-page newspaper called the Malibu Tribute to promote council candidates Jay Liebig, John Mazza and Walt Keller. Meanwhile, causing further controversy, this week’s edition of The Malibu Times includes an advertisement from property rights activist Anne Hoffman that mocks those candidates as being pawns of Malibu Community Action Network activist Ozzie Silna.

Hoffman’s advertisement shows a cartoon caricature of Silna holding a bag of money in one hand and a string of puppets in the other that are caricatures of Liebig, Mazza and Keller. The top of the advertisement reads, “Developer Silna is spending $200,000 to stack our City Council with developers.” The Liebig and Mazza puppets have bubbled quotes next to them in which they say they are developers. Liebig is wearing a shirt that says, “Jay-Lie-Big.” In a telephone interview, Liebig said the advertisement was offensive because it attacked him as a person and not just his politics. Mazza said he thought it was inappropriate.

“Anne Hoffman’s ad is very offensive, totally misleading and typical of the Barovsky machine,” Mazza said.

Hoffman defended her advertisement in a telephone interview by saying she put nothing in it that was not true since Mazza and Liebig have been involved in development projects, and she said the public should know that. Hoffman said Mazza had put out advertisements that were much more offensive because she said they blatantly made up things about the current council. She said her advertisement was meant to be insulting, because she felt that way about Liebig.

“Jay Liebig has sued the city to take away our right to vote,” Hoffman said. “I am personally insulted.”

Silna, who referred to Hoffman with an expletive, said her advertisement was a lie. He said he had spent nowhere close to $200,000 on the campaign.

“Why do we always hear from the same half-dozen (expletive) who speak on behalf of the City Council…they are the spewing mouthpiece (expletive) for the City Council,” said Silna, referring to Hoffman, Wade Major, Jeff Harris, David Kagon, Doug O’Brien and Georgianna McBurney, who are supporters of Mayor Ken Kearsley and Councilman Jeff Jennings.

Upon hearing Silna’s statement, McBurney said, “I am so delighted to be in such good company.” McBurney said Hoffman’s advertisement told the truth.

In response to Silna’s verbal attack, Hoffman said, “There’s nothing worse than a millionaire with a sewer mouth… anybody who disagrees with Ozzie publicly is a curse word.”

The Malibu Tribute attacks the current City Council on various fronts including its support of Measure M, its alleged withdrawal from California Coastal Commission consideration of a citizen’s committee-drafted Local Coastal Program document in 2000 and for not attending a meeting last month on a proposed liquid natural gas facility to be placed near Malibu.

Kearsley said the Malibu Tribute contained numerous false statements. “These are the same people who have no respect for the truth, no respect for Malibu voters and no respect for Malibu,” said Kearsley, who called the production-quality of the publication sophomoric.

Malibu resident Rich Fox, whose name appears in the masthead, said he had a different take on the Malibu Tribute. “It’s very educational,” he said. “I’m particularly impressed to the time and effort that was put into describing the LCP situation. There has been a lot of misinformation that has been passed out by the other side, and this is an opportunity for the public to get the truth.”

The Malibu Tribute is a continuation of a newspaper called the Malibu Tribune, a Malibu CAN publication that has been released twice. The two issues of the Tribunecame out just before November’s Measure M election and right after the firing of two planning commissioners and the resignation of another in December. Editor Kathy Sullivan said Malibu CAN did not put out a third edition because it wanted to avoid further conflict.

“We thought since so many people had been throwing mud at Malibu CAN, it was a better idea to have somebody new,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to show that other people besides Ozzie [Silna] could put their money where their mouths are.”

Hoffman said she had not read the Malibu Tribute, but she said she doubted there were many facts in it.

“Don Henley is misguided and misinformed on the issues,” Hoffman said.